In my last post I gave you 5 Bad Reasons To Go To a Small Church.
But there are some great reasons to go to a Small Church, too.
Some people wonder if there’s ever a good reason to go to a Small Church. After all, if they’re small, they must be doing something wrong, right?
There are a lot of great Small Churches in the world, and a lot of great reasons to worship, minister and fellowship in one.
Here are 5 of them.
This is the second in a series of four posts on both bad and good reasons to want to go to a small or big church. (Scroll down to see the previous and upcoming post titles.)
1. Because It’s Where My Gifts Can Flourish
Some people’s ministry gifts aren’t suited to a big church.
It’s not because their gifts are lesser, they’re just more usable in a smaller setting. If God can use your gifts better in a Small Church than a big church, go to a Small Church. Which leads us to…
2. Because They Can Really Use Me
Big churches can usually find all the help they need – both paid and unpaid.
But there are many Small Churches all over the world that are desperate for people who are willing to help wherever they can. I hear this cry from Small Church pastors all the time. People visit, maybe even a few times. They say they like the church, the people, the preaching, but they leave because “you don’t have such-and-such a ministry”. To which we want to scream “then stick around and help us start such-and-such a ministry!”
Eugene Petersen spoke to this better than I ever will, in an interview with Jonathan Merritt, so I’ll let him say it here, too:
JM: Eighty-one years is a long time. As you enter your final season of life, what would you like to say to younger Christians who are itchy for a deeper and more authentic discipleship? What’s your word to them?
EP: Go to the nearest smallest church and commit yourself to being there for 6 months. If it doesn’t work out, find somewhere else. But don’t look for programs, don’t look for entertainment, and don’t look for a great preacher. A Christian congregation is not a glamorous place, not a romantic place. That’s what I always told people. If people were leaving my congregation to go to another place of work, I’d say, “The smallest church, the closest church, and stay there for 6 months.” Sometimes it doesn’t work. Some pastors are just incompetent. And some are flat out bad. So I don’t think that’s the answer to everything, but it’s a better place to start than going to the one with all the programs, the glitz, all that stuff.
Most big churches are very homogeneous. That is, they attract people who fit a particular profile. It can be by economic status, race, age, etc.
In fact, there are many church growth proponents who encourage churches to use what is called the homogeneous church principle as a church growth tool. Namely, reach one particular type of person by designing the church to fit the things they like.
I think there are multiple problems with this approach, from the consumer-based mentality it encourages, to an outright prejudice of only wanting to worship with people who look and/or act like me.
Small Churches tend to be more heterogeneous – that is, there are all kinds of people in them. Old and young, rich and poor, and multiple races and ethnicities all worship and minister together.
(No, not all Small Churches are heterogeneous. Just like not all big churches are homogeneous.)
Worshiping and ministering with people who are different than I am is a good thing.
4. Because I’m Intimidated Or Frustrated By Big Crowds
Some people love being in a big room with a big crowd for worship. It pulls them forward and reminds then that when they worship Jesus they are a part of a massive worldwide body.
But big doesn’t work for everyone.
Many people aren’t encouraged by the size, noise and intensity of a big room. It doesn’t attract them, it distracts them. They’re drawn in by smaller, more intimate gatherings than by big ones.
No, not all Small Churches are quiet and contemplative. The Small Church I pastor is young, noisy and boisterous. But it’s also intimate, which appeals to many believers.
Lately, I’ve read several blog posts by people who are frustrated with church services that are filled with thousands of people, pounding music, strobe lights and smoke machines. (Personally I love all that stuff, even though we don’t have it in our church – it doesn’t make sense in our small room. But I know it’s not for everyone.)
Some are even considering leaving the church entirely because they find all the bells and whistles distracting. I have a better alternative. If you don’t like all that big stuff, find a Small Church without it. They’re everywhere. And they’d love to welcome you.
5. Because They’re My Spiritual Family
This may be the primary reason people choose Small Churches. The relationships and accountability you can only get in a smaller church. When they gather as the church, they want to worship with people they actually know, not nameless faces in a crowd.
Many, maybe most big churches accomplish this intimacy and accountability in their small group ministries. But many Christians prefer going to a Small Church on Sunday instead of a small group during the week.
And, after all, isn’t that sense of family and fellowship a big part of what the church is supposed to be about?
Check out the other posts in this series:
- 5 Bad Reasons To Go To a Small Church
- 5 Bad Reasons To Go To a Big Church
- 5 Good Reasons To Go To a Big Church
So what do you think? What are some other good reasons to go to a Small Church?
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